Life saving equipment made available round the clock at Shanklin thanks to a pensioner who would have died without it

LIFE-saving equipment has been made available round the clock at Shanklin, thanks to a pensioner who would have died without it.

John Howard, 79, suffered a cardiac arrest near Shanklin Theatre last year and said he owed his life to the venue’s defibrillator, which was used to save him by off-duty doctor Katie Thomas.

From left, Peter Coleman, Linda Richter and Katie Thomas by the defibrillator in its new position outside the box office door

As a gesture of appreciation to everyone involved in his care, the Gloucester pensioner, who was holidaying on the Island when it happened, paid for the defibrillator to be placed on an outside wall, to make it accessible 24 hours a day.

Mr Howard said: "I am delighted the defibrillator is now outside the theatre.

"I was very fortunate my cardiac arrest occurred at a time when the theatre was staffed.

"Now that element of chance has been removed and it is permanently available to anyone who needs it."

The Friends of Shanklin Theatre was among the first groups to make its defibrillator publicly accessible in the town, although its use was restricted to the hours the venue was open.

Peter Coleman, of the friends, said: "It was recognised if the theatre was not open at the time the defibrillator was required, this could cost a life. So when John offered to fund the external cabinet, the friends gratefully agreed to seek permission to place the new cabinet so everyone could have access, whatever the time or day."

• The box is protected by a lock, the code for which will be provided to anyone ringing 999.